Switzerland has always been one of the countries I had dreamt of returning to after my first visit in 2012. When we decided that Zurich would be the last leg of our trip to Europe in September last year, I started looking into possible day trips from the city that would allow us to see more of this scenic country. I, then, came across the Heidiland & Liechtenstein Day Trip from Zurich serviced by Gray Line, which would take us through the Swiss countryside, as well as the neighboring country of Liechtenstein. A chance to cross off another European country from my list? I said, why not? So, we booked the trip via Viator, and were locked in for the tour on our first full day in Zurich.
- Price (per person) – from US$86
- Duration – 7 to 8 hours
- Departure Time – 11:00am, but try to be there at least 15-20 minutes before
- Departure Point – Sihlquai Bus Terminal
- Group Size – large; we were around 40-50 in the tour group
- Not Included in the Price – Meals & Beverages
This day trip begins with a quick driving tour of Zurich with a stop right by Quaibrücke Bridge just before leaving the city. You’ll then proceed to Rapperswil, where you’ll have about an hour and a half that begins with a brief guided intro to the town, while the rest of the time, you’ll get to do some exploring of your own.
About an hour’s drive from Rapperswil will then take you to another country – Liechtenstein. Its capital, Vaduz, sits by the Rhine, and is known as one of the best places to shop in the region, as you can purchase items tax-free. Your stop in Vaduz will last just under an hour, so you won’t have time to go up the hill and visit the Castle. Nonetheless, the next stop is where you’ll spend more time in, as it offers incredible views. As the day trip comes to a close, the last stop will be in Heidi’s Village in Heidiland.
While this tour is a bit heavy on driving, getting from one stop to another will reward you with incredible sceneries, making this day trip from Zurich definitely worthwhile.
Departure from Sihlquai Bus Terminal
The Sihlquai Bus Terminal sits right across Zurich Main Station, making it an easy walk from any point of the city center and the Old Town. Given that the departure time of the tour wasn’t until 11 in the morning, we had a lot of time to explore the streets surrounding the bus terminal, which was a relaxing start to the day. There’s also a Starbucks right in front of the terminal, should you need to grab your caffeine fix to start the day.
Zurich City Tour
As the tour bus departed from the Sihlquai Bus Terminal, we circled through Old Town of Zurich, as our guide welcomed us on board with a few interesting facts about not only the city, but Switzerland as well. Before leaving Zurich, we made a quick stop by the Quaibrücke Bridge, which gave us a great panoramic view of the Limmat River and its surrounding buildings.
After the drive from Zurich to Rapperswil, which was just under an hour, our guide briefly introduced us to this quaint Swiss town. Thereafter, we headed towards Café Conditorei Rosenstädter, which was highly-recommended by our tour guide for their cheese pie. Note that during our visit, the rain was a bit strong. Had the sun been shining through, we would’ve walked around the Old Town first before sitting down in the café; since the weather wasn’t on our side, we ended up devouring their delectable cheese pie, pictured below. This, I highly-recommend you don’t miss out on if you take this tour! The Old Town & Lake Zurich
Our remaining time in Rapperswil after dining in Café Conditorei Rosenstädter was spent seeing the Old Town. The streets and alleyways make for a picture-perfect backdrop.There’s a castle right by the Old Town, but we came across what then became my favorite part of our short visit to Rapperswil, and this is where we decided to spend the rest of our limited time in. It was the walkway overlooking Lake Zurich that took my breath away. And in the following photos, you’ll see exactly why we decided to spend our last few moments in the Rapperswil here.
An hour’s worth of driving from Rapperswil took us to a new country: Liechtenstein. The drive is incredibly scenic – but that pretty much describes Switzerland as a whole, so no surprise there!As previously mentioned, the stop in Vaduz doesn’t give you a lot of time to go up to Vaduz Castle.Though it does give you some time to do some tax-free shopping and see the town hall (Rathaus); or do one of the most tourist things I’ve done to date: get your passport stamped for a minimal fee!
Heidi’s Village in Heidiland, Maienfeld
And finally, onto the main highlight of the trip: Heidiland. The drive is a shorter one this time, just under half an hour, but still, the views did not disappoint.As we arrived into Heidi’s Village, we were greeted with a majestic view of the surrounding mountains.Growing up, I was acquainted with the film version of Heidi – not its books though; but don’t worry if you have no idea what it’s all about, as I was only reacquainted with the storyline when our tour guide told us all about it during the drive over. Nonetheless, a fan or not, you’ll surely enjoy what Heidi Village has in store for you to see.The walk from where the bus parks to the main area where Heidi House is, the main attraction fans of the book or film flock to see, takes about 15 minutes – for us, it was more though, as we couldn’t help but stop and admire the view moments at a time.When you get to the area where majority of the structures are, you’ll have the option to go where you please.Pictured below, is the Heidi House, by which you could enter for a small fee. Being the sometimes-ridiculously cheap people that we are, we decided not to – besides, we’re not fans of the book or the movie, so we didn’t see the need to do so!Instead, we admired the view surrounding it, and started our walk back earlier than the others knowing we would make a few photo stops along the way once again.Departing from this last stop of the day tour in Heidiland, Maienfeld was a great way to end the trip. While I thought it was the end, we were fortunately graced with absolutely fantastic views on the drive back to Zurich. I’ll let the photos do the talking, and you’ll know what I mean.
In summary, this great day tour from Zurich is a must. While the tour title might give the impression that half the time will be spent in Heidiland and the other half in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, expect to spend most of your time in the Swiss towns you’ll be visiting rather than focusing on Liechtenstein. And this is not at all a bad thing – this tour gives you a chance to see Switzerland beyond its big, highly-urbanized cities, and will allow you to focus on the countryside and the quaint little towns therein, a truly great Swiss experience!